Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Irish Beef Stout Stew

This stew was outstanding (my favorite so far).  It was rich and thick and the beef and potatoes were cooked to perfection, before tossing it into the freezer.  I made the batch over last weekend, so I then cooled and froze it in an air tight container.  I then thawed it overnight in the fridge and reheated it on the stove top with a little more beef broth.  One caution, if freezing in the future I suggest adding the potatoes in when you reheat and not cooking them before freezing, I believe there texture was a little odd.

I served the stew with warm pumpkin dinner rolls to absorb the rich broth!

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  • 4 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 medium onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 can (14.9 ounces) Irish stout beer
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 10 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons thyme, dried
  • 1 bay leaf, dried
  • 3 Tablespoons minute tapioca
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 boxes (10 ounces each) frozen baby peas, thawed
  1. Preheat oven to 350. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, toss beef with flour; stir in tomato paste.foodblog 005
  2. Add potatoes, onions, broth, beer, garlic, seasonings, and tapioca. Cover, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Transfer pot to oven, and cook, covered, until meat is fork-tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Stir in peas, and season with salt and pepper.

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Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Chicken Cheese Steak Calzones

I had a lot of fun making this meal tonight.  It was quick and easy to prepare since I sauteed the veggies, chicken, and shredded the cheese last night.  It's a great tasting, comforting, and really satisfying meal after a work day.  Enjoy!

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  • TJ whole wheat crust
  • TJ marinara sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 cup tri-color peppers, sliced and sauteed
  • 1/4 cup red onion, sliced and sauteed
  • 1 large chicken breast, sliced and sauteed
  • 1/3 cup shredded provolone or cheddar cheese

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Press out dough and quarter.  Fill with chicken, peppers, cheese and garlic.  Press dough over the filling and gently spread the filling out inside the "pocket".  Make a small vent whole to allow the steam to escape.  Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes.  Serve with warm marinara on the side for dipping.

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Spicy Oven Roasted Chickpeas

You can spice these up however you'd like.  They pop in your mouth and are such a healthy treat that still gives you that guilty pleasure.  I recommend you double or triple the recipe and serve a bowl of them at parties - they are utterly delicious.

    • 1 (12 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • salt
    • chili powder
    • herbs de provence
    • chipotle pepper powder

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    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
    2. Blot chickpeas with a paper towel to dry them. On a baking sheet, toss chickpeas with olive oil, and season to taste with your choice of spices  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until browned and crunchy. Watch carefully the last few minutes to avoid burning.

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Here they are straight from the oven, you can see how they split open and dry out! 

Method from AllRecipes.com

Monday, October 27, 2008

Chicken with Apple, Onion and Cider Gravy

The tart apple sauce mixture made the dish. Each bite had a wonderful burst of flavor. We had roasted green beans with garam marsala, s&p along side.

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  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 1 pound chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • 1 McIntosh and 1 granny smith apple, unpeeled and sliced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, sliced
  • Salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup apple or hard cider
  • 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with EVOO. Place the chicken into the pan, saute 6-7 minutes per side.

    Remove the chicken from the pan and add the apples and onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender, 4-5 minutes. Add the cider and grainy mustard, and bring up to a bubble. Add the chicken back to the pan and cook until the liquids have reduced a bit and thickened up, 3-4 minutes.

    Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray

    Sunday, October 26, 2008

    Saturday, October 25, 2008

    Pumpkin Carving, Spiced Pumpkin Seeds and Greek Pizza Party

    To conclude our evening Andy and I decided to carve our two pumpkins (even though we will be back at Topsail over Halloween!). I still wanted to light the pumpkins in the evenings leading up to Halloween and enjoy spicing up and roasting the fresh pumpkin seeds. To further enjoy ourselves as we carved away I came up with this pizza combo, which was delicious!

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    • 1 whole wheat pizza dough ball
    • 1 12 oz container store bought hummus
    • 1 box frozen, chopped spinach
    • 1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
    • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
    • marinated artichokes, chopped
    • kalamata olives, chopped
    • banana peppers, chopped
    • feta cheese (ideally, but cheddar was what we had)

    We bought a single mega bottle of this hard-cider last night and gave it a try tonight. I really enjoyed it, thought it tasted pretty much like apple cider, just with a kick! I had this half glass as I carved away. The rest was for Andy, but he didn't like it much so I finished it off afterwards while watching Iron Man.

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    foodblog 010Andy's on the left and mine on the right - we're both pleased as a pumpkin with how they turned out :o)

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    Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

    Rinse, dry, and drizzle with oil and seasonings of your choice. Bake at 250 degrees for 60 minutes, then at 350 degrees for 5 minutes or until golden brown.

    Sweet - honey, cinnamon, sugar, and salt

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    Spicy - cayenne, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt

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    Halloween Sugar Cookies and Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Latte

    Andy and I also made our annual Halloween sugar cookies this afternoon.  We finally learned our cookie roles this time: Andy makes the dough, I roll it out and make the icing, and Andy cuts the shapes out.  Then we both do some decorating. 

    Each batch of dough makes approx 15 cookies.  We made the dough a few weeks ago and froze it in discs.  I thawed the dough in the fridge overnight, but I'm sure you could leave it at room temp for 1-2 hours also.

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    The cookies after baking

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    Our decorating supplies: sprinkles, orange and white confectioner/water icing (I also like to occasionally make purple), and black gel.

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    Here's the three I decorated and then Andy went whimsical on the rest.

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    Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spiced Latte

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    I saw these a few days ago over on  Stephanie's blog and was excited to try these out as the perfect accompaniment to our cookies.  They were pretty darn good, my only gripe was a little pumpkin puree was left at the bottom of the mugs, but that was no biggie.

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    I'd never used my "little dipper" before, these fit inside perfectly and made enough for two servings.

    FRUIT CAKES are HERE!!! (and a surprise sweet ending)

    I just LOVE this time of year, fall weather gets me so excited for all things festive.  The pumpkin sweet and savory dishes, cranberries, turkey, hot apple cider, bourbon balls (hello Isaacs :), buckeye candies, fudge (and the 5-minute kind ain't bad either),  and brandy soaked homemade fruit cakes!! 

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    I made four mini loaves this year using my families recipe, enough to be enjoyed but also just enough that I'll cherish each bite. 

    Mix-in's: candied fruits, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, coarsely chopped pecans.

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    Wet & Dry: flour, sugar, salt, eggs, butter, brandy

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    Jewel Toned Batter

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    After baking for 30 minutes, add reserved candied fruit and pecans and garnish the fruit cakes.  Drizzle with honey as the "shalac", continue baking.

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    Soak cheese cloth in brandy or bourbon

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    Wrap each individually and store in an airtight container.  Every 7-10 days use a pastry brush to give the cheese cloth wrapping another coating of brandy.  I like to do this a total of 3-4 times.

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    I tried something new this year, fruit cake cookies!!!  I used a medium scoop and made a few cookie balls.  Bake these along side of the fruit cakes for 30 minutes.  Brush with a small "swipe" of brandy while still warm.  These were really good!!  I may be baking a few of these off again this year.

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    Andy ate 3 of the 5 cookies, one right after another.  That's saying A WHOLE LOT coming from Andy who doesn't have much of a sweet tooth.

    Wednesday, October 22, 2008

    Knockwurst Stoup

    This was a really easy and good tasting soup. It was full of flavors and textures too. That said, I would rather have been eating another bowl of Slow Cooker Choucroute. Update: Andy just commented, "that was really good!"

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    • 1 package smoked turkey kielbasa, cut into 2 inch chunks
    • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
    • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 lb sauerkraut, drained and rinsed
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 rounded tablespoons dark or light brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (eyeball it)
    • 4 cups chicken stock
    • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
    • 1 McIntosh apple, cored and thinly sliced
    • 1/4 cup (a handful) flat-leaf parsley leaves
    • A few slices dark bread

    Preheat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the sliced knockwurst and cook until lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes. Add the caraway seeds to the pot. Toast for abut 30 seconds then add the onion, bay leaf and apple, season with a little salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes or until the onions get tender. Add the sauerkraut.

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    Add the sugar and apple cider vinegar, cook for about 1 minute, then add the chicken stock and tomato sauce. Bring up to a bubble and simmer the soup for about 10 minutes. Serve with lightly buttered dark bread alongside.

    Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray

    Durham Centre Skyline Views

    I thought I'd share a few photos of the views from my side of the Durham Centre building. I've shared this photo before of the Duke Clinical Research Institute's (DCRI) new office building. It's a stunning building, and I love driving up and seeing it in the sky every morning.

    This photo shows the Lucky Strike towers, I'm not sure what the other buildings are.

    This photo shows more of the old tobacco factories which are now being converted into office space and upscale apartments. At the bottom of the photo is also a glimpse of the Durham Centre's roof top garden. I hope the owners landscape it nicely this spring now that all the office tenants have moved in.

    Finally, here's the Carolina Theatre, which is right across the street. I'm looking forward to spending some after work evenings here.

    Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    Tempeh "Chicken" Salad

    Wow!  This recipe was dynamite and so was the throw together rice side dish!  The tempeh "chicken" was so moist and even started to look like diced chicken after it boiled, cooled, and got diced.  I love this method of cooking tempeh.

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    • 12 ounces tempeh, cubed
    • 2 tablespoons bell peppers, minced
    • 2 Tbsp dill pickle relish, minced
    • 2-3 scallions, minced
    • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
    • 1/4 mayonnaise
    • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
    • 1 tablespoon spicy mustard
    • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
    • salt & freshly ground black pepper

    Place the cubed tempeh in a saucepan of boiling, salted water.

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    Reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 12 minutes, drain and set aside to cool.

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    In a large bowl, combine the relish, pepper,  scallion and parsley.

    Run a knife through the cubed tempeh, just to give it a rough chop (optional, the cubes work fine too) Add chopped tempeh to the bowl, along with the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon, salt and pepper.

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    Fold everything together, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors combine.

    Here's the rice combo:

    I had 2 cups pre-cooked and frozen brown rice in the freezer too.  I thawed this overnight, reheated in a glass bowl with 2 Tbsp water and 1/2 c leftover brussel sprouts for 3 minutes.  I then stirred in 1 Tbsp garam masala, 1 tsp tumeric, s&p, 1 handful of unsalted sunflower seeds and 4 Tbsp dried cranberries!  Yummerzs!

    Monday, October 20, 2008

    Shallow Fried Cod Fillet Sandwiches

    I received a g-chat from Andy asking me if I remembered how good the Long John's Silver fish wraps were back in college.  This short conversation put us both in the mood for a homemade fish sandwich.  I ran out to Trader Joe's at lunch and purchased a few frozen cod fillets. 

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    • 1/2 c multi-grain baking mix
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1 Tbsp creole seasoning
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/4 c 1% milk, or until you have a thick batter

    Heat 3-4 Tbsp grape seed oil over medium heat in a cast iron or oven proof skillet.  Mix batter together and dredge fillets.  Cook 3-4 minutes per side and then bake in a 400 degree oven for 5-6 minutes (my fillets were really thick.)

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    While this was baking I sliced a tomato and avocado, and whipped together 3 Tbsp EVOO mayo with 2-3 tsp dill pickle relish.

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    Served with halved brussel sprouts that were tossed in 1 Tbsp EVOO, s&p.  Baked at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Drizzle with 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar when they come out of the oven.

    Sunday, October 19, 2008

    Menu Plan Monday


    Monday: Fried Fish Sandwiches with Avocado, Lettuce and Tomatoes and Roasted Brussel Sprouts

    Tuesday: Tempeh "Chicken" Salad with Pita's

    Wednesday: Lunch at Parker & Otis, Dinner: Knockwurst Stoup

    Thursday: Lunch at Pho 9N9, Evening: Nasher Museum - El Greco Exhibit and Dinner at George's Garage

    Friday: Dinner at Thai Cafe

    Saturday: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (from our jack-o-lanterns), Pumpkin Latte, Fruit Cakes, Halloween Sugar Cookies and maybe some real food: Greek Pizza (hummus, spinach, garlic, artichokes, and kalamata olives)

    Sunday: We'll see where the day takes me!

    Weekend, Where'd You'd Go?

    We've had a superb weekend and I'm finally grabbing a moment to provide a quick recap. Friday started out with a frozen ham and pineapple pizza with leftover kale chips and take out breadsticks (that Andy was craving). We chowed on this while watching the new Indiana Jones movie...which was decent.

    I had mine with a leftover Michelob Ultra Lime that my parents left at the beach with us.

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    The kale chips reheated perfectly! They went back in at 375 for another 10 minutes, I added a little more salt after they heated. I finished these off all by myself, but I figured it was better to fill-up on these than more pizza and breadsticks :o)

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    Saturday morning our new KY buddies called to confirm that they could make it over for the Kentucky game (they're from Lexington, KY and now live here - cute story...we spotted a UK t-shirt at Kroger and our friendship has gone from there!!). We threw down a pot of chili and an apple, pear, cranberry brown betty. They brought homemade beer cheese, cheddar jalapeno corn muffins, and octoberfest beer!

    Winning "Kentucky Wildcat" Chili

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    • 1 pound ground chicken
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons chili powder
    • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
    • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 can light beer (Miller Lite)
    • 1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce
    • 1 lb frozen diced garden tomatoes
    • Garnish: diced avocado, sharp shredded cheese, light sour cream, hot sauce

    Heat skillet with extra-virgin olive oil, add meat and brown. Season the meat with salt and pepper, to taste, chili powder, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and paprika. Add the bay leaf, onions, bell pepper and garlic to the pan. Cook until onions are soft, 8 minutes. Add beer simmer for 4-5 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes. Stir and reduce heat to simmer.

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    The Sam Adams Oktoberfest and jalapeno cheddar muffins matched the chili perfectly and were scrumptious! Thanks Kristen and Laurence! We loved having UK fans over and especially ones that bring KY beer cheese too! (smile). Dessert was a great use of fall flavors - apples, pears, and cranberries. We served this with vanilla ice cream and really enjoyed it. It only calls for 4 Tbsp butter but the flavor really came through nicely.

    Apple, Pear and Cranberry Brown Betty

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    • 3 large Golden Delicious apples, diced
    • 2 red Bartlett pears, peeled and diced
    • 1 cup apple cider
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar, plus 2 Tbsp divided
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
    • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
    • 1/2 bag fresh cranberries
    • 3 slices whole-wheat bread (1-ounce each) crusts included (to make about 2 1/4 cups crumbs) I used Ezekiel cinnamon raisin
    • 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    Combine apples, pears, apple cider, 1/2 cup brown sugar, vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender but not mushy, about 10 minutes. Stir in cranberries and 1 tablespoon butter until melted, remove from heat and transfer mixture to a 9-inch glass pie plate.

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    Place bread in food processor and process until crumbs are formed, about 15 seconds. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in microwave for 20 seconds. Toss crumbs with melted butter, walnuts, remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Scatter crumb mixture on top of apples and bake for 30 minutes, until topping is crisped and lightly browned.

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    Sunday we headed off to church, changed at home and then made a quick trip to Brinkley's Pumpkin Patch. This is my CSA farm too, I was surprised how small the farm looked compared to the large amount of produce I see each week. The pumpkin patch had plenty of pumpkins to choose from along with mums and gourds and still some fresh veggies and meat. There were not any hay rides, mazes, games, etc - which was ok with us.

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    We're carving our pumpkins, roasting the seeds, and making our annual Halloween sugar cookies next weekend!

    Finally, we gave the house a great scrubbing on Saturday too. While I washed all the dog beds, I found Finley on the top of a 5 dog bed mound!! We grabbed several photos and Wilson had to come check it out too!

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